Whilst Riverside, as a centre of independent Primary Education, aims to maintain excellence in teaching practice and have academic learning as a high priority, our belief is that true preparation for life beyond schooling includes much more.
Agricultural Training, or ‘gardening’ to our students, is a key feature of the learning program at Riverside. Students are responsible not only for the planning, purchasing, preparing, planting, weeding, watering and harvesting of their crop. They also use the gardens’ produce to both perpetuate their growing cycle and provide some kind of benefit or service to the wider community. The gardens not only supplement creative learning embedded in the Australian Curriculum but stimulate a spirit of giving. With an identified purpose behind every crop of fruit, vegetables or flowers, students learn to ‘reap what they sow’ and then ‘give to the needy’.
As an Adventist school, service to others remains a high priority. Each year, under the guidance of their teachers, every Riverside class makes a Service Plan for improving the community or helping those in need. Projects range from visitations to gifts, to fundraising, to musical performances, to artwork and anything else the students may dream up. In the past, some of these ideas have been linked to the gardening program. So far, the impact on the students themselves has far outweighed the obvious benefits to others.
Our Pastoral Care Program, through chaplaincy and school counselling, ensures support for the students’ emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. Above and beyond this support is the implanting of pastoral care within key school policies and procedures. The school’s behaviour management policy, for example, has at its ‘core’ a respect for individual needs and recognises that behavioural change is only possible through God’s working in our hearts.
Better Buddies Program
One of the benefits of a small school population is the strength of the bonds that can exist between the students of varying agents. Riverside is a registered “Better Buddies” School. Students of different classes are able to read, play, plan and learn together. Being a part of this program has highlighted the growth that is possible in building leadership skills in older students. Relationships blossom and grow. There is a strong sense of family between classes and since older students feel responsible for the safety and security of their younger friends, bullying becomes almost non-existent.